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October 21, 2010 » Kitchener

Shoplifter’s bright idea backfires, Kitchener court hears October 21, 2010 By Dianne Wood, Record staff

KITCHENER — George Hanrahan thought he’d found a surefire way to successfully shoplift.

Kitchener’s Ontario Court heard Wednesday that Hanrahan took the bus from Cambridge to the Rona Home and Garden Centre on Ottawa Street South in Kitchener on Sept. 5.

He stole a nail roofing gun worth $400. He tossed it over a fence at the back of the store, then retrieved it later.

He sold it on the street for $70 and used the money to buy morphine.

Hanrahan was back on the bus two days later, heading for the same store. This time, he took a hammer drill worth almost $1,000. Over the fence it went. Hanrahan then re-entered the store.

He left again soon after. This time, a loss prevention officer noticed him walking towards the area where he’d stashed the stolen booty.

Hanrahan told police, “It worked so well last week that I thought I’d try it again.’’

Court heard Hanrahan once had a good life with a wife and child, and a job on an oil rig. But after a work-related injury, he needed pain medication.

He became addicted to morphine and his life took a downward turn.

He’s been in and out of jail since 1980. After his release from prison in May, he wanted to get on a methadone program, but didn’t have a doctor or a health card, he told the judge.

His supply of medication ran out in June. He has since obtained a health card with the help of the Kitchener soup kitchen.

Hanrahan spent 43 days in custody waiting to plead guilty.

Justice Gary Hearn said more time would accomplish nothing. He put him on probation for 18 months and told him to get counselling for substance abuse.

“If you’re really sincere about getting some assistance . . . it’s a good opportunity,’’ the judge told him. “You’re 47. This might be your last opportunity.’’

dwood@therecord.com